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Coaching Moment Becomes a Teaching Moment

Brian Clawson
A chance encounter with a Ball State professor led to a new career path for Brian Clawson.

When Brian Clawson enrolled in Ball State’s online master of arts degree in technology education, he felt like he did when he was a 38-year-old returning to a youthful campus to give the bachelor’s degree another college try. That was exactly what he had done a few years prior, as he sought an escape from his job in a tool and die shop.

But now the anxieties were about the world of online education.

“As a non-traditional student, I was very nervous about taking online courses,” says Clawson. “I’ll have to admit it was pretty scary at first.”

He credits the technology professors who provided detailed syllabi, in-depth feedback on assignments, and prompt responses to his e-mails, with helping him overcome his anxiety.

There’s no question that Ball State technology professors are innovators in their field. But they’re also hands on and in touch. In fact, it was a Ball State technology professor who inspired Clawson to re-start his bachelor’s degree since he had dropped out 16 credits shy of a college diploma.

Clawson met Dr. Richard Seymour, associate professor of technology, while coaching his son in a youth football league in Delaware County, Indiana—the same county where Ball State’s main campus is located. Seymour quickly noticed how the animated coach commanded the respect of his grade-school athletes.

Clawson remembers the professor telling him, “The players hang on your every word.” Eventually, Clawson met with Seymour who mapped out a plan of study which would provide this part-time coach with his teaching credentials.

For Clawson, that plan included an early morning job and an evening job. But because he took his classes seriously, he earned a spot on the dean’s list each semester as a second-time-around undergrad.

Despite his apprehensions about enrolling in a master’s program delivered completely online, Clawson soon became comfortable with the process thanks to frequent faculty interaction.

Clawson praises the online program for opening his eyes to modern teaching strategies. “When I was in high school, you sat there and listened to a 50-minute lecture,” he says. “Now, you can make your class more interesting with PowerPoint, Smart Boards, video, and a variety of group activities.”

He also credits Ball State for steering him toward a field that will utilize his talents and passions.

“He wants to help students explore our complex, technological world,” says Seymour of Clawson. “He is the type of role model needed in today’s schools.”

Look for your passion in one of nearly 60 different online programs at Ball State.

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